Monday, February 20, 2006

Counting Down The Moments

Jjust like a tropical sunset, the sun is dipping to the horizon and the sands of time slip by faster and faster to the end of term.

The exams have now passed and we are moving into the spare week where we are supposed to be doing "farewell activities" and other exciting things to keep the kids occupied.

Although I have got lessons planned, the reality will probably be that I will mostly play games with them or whatever they and Ii am in the mood for. If they are good they will get team games - english language based and if they are bad, the dreaded Activity Books and worksheets - the original lesson plan.

The exam week was reasonably uneventfull was remarkably little cheating going on. They seemed to have learnt their lesson and became a bit more sophisticated. There was no getting up out of their seats, no trying to open their books in their bags and so on. Of course there was some looking at others answers and quietly asking each other questions but even that was seemingly restrained.

Had I finally got though to them? Where they finally beginning to realise that they could use their brains to think and do it for themselves? Heaven knows. If I could leave them with just one impression, one thing they have learned in their year with me I would choose that.

Now that I have got the marking started, a few patterns are emerging. The smarter ones have noticed that some of the questions were answered by some displays and posters around the room and the err others didnt. Even though the marking scheme is quite relaxed I have quite pleased with the general results and of a couple of kids in particular that have in the last few weeks started taking the smart pills insted of the stupid ones.

Quite why they only started doing it in the last few weeks I am not sure. Maybe they learn a little like I do, sit, observe, think then understand. No matter, from being in the 30% range these two kids suddenly reached up into the 60%s. Good on ya kiddos!

The last week or so has seen a flurry of memos about how to have our end of year partys, how to enter the scores in the worksheets and this that and the other. But basically we now know the timetable for remaining few weeks of term time Unfortunately it seems that its there is a bit of work involved, by that I mean a few of the deadlines are quite tight. By the end of this week we have to mark all the exams and enter them into the spreadsheets and then by the end of next week type out all the reports and then a few days later proof read and correct and then sign. Ah, not that bad I hear you cry but at the same time, we are supposed to be invigilating the Thai exams and then help doing summer camps. So, its going to be a bit tight and more rushed than the end of the first semester for example.

It seems on this occasion I have come out a bit ahead of the game - at least me and my learning group. This week we only have a couple of tests to do fr those kids who were off sick or whatever. But another group have got two full weeks of the normal tests and the exams. It seems that someone somewhere miscalculated or was told the wrong information. Whatever, the end result is the two solid weeks of testing and more importantly - from the teachers point of view - marking and then entering the marks into the spreadsheet.

One of the more interesting memos was about the payments, as usual everything will get back to us at the end of the contract. The final salary, the remaining bonus ( half of which we got In december ), our flight/travel bonus and our runner deposit. All in all a tidy sum assuming we get it all. As well as this, any deductions will be taken off. By this they seem to be indicating the days taken off sick over our allocation, the times we were late, went homm early and so on. The cynical are pointing out that of course by paying it at the end by which time many people would be away or travelling etc any mistakes in the schools favour wouldnt be corrected!

This was one memo that wasnt put on everyones desk surprisingly. After all thats why we work - for the money. Some might love to do the job but if we aint got no money we dont eat! Another reason why it was suprising that it wasnt given out to everyone was that it was talking about the contracts for next year and when they would be issued! A few people have apparently been talked to about coming back but a lot havent.

What is strange is that they seem to be giving everyone a letter about "the invitation" to come back next year. Seems a bit strange. Why give an invitation to someone who is not going to come back? I would have thought that a little chat first of all would have done the trick better. Some already know 100% that they are not. Why bother sending them a letter? ( Of course, this assumes that all the letters include an invitation to return and not one to go forth and never darken our door again! ) Ah well. Whatever. Just another case of TIT and resource management in thailand.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

First of all, congratulations on having students that actually _improved_ during the term.

Second, from your writings, one might infer that there are many similarities between the experince of teaching students in a private school in Bangkok and that of managing in a large company.

Except, of course, when you are managing in a company, you can choose some of your employees ;-)